What's so important about the first hour after birth?



The first hour has been described as the Golden Hour, Baby Moon, Sacred Hour, It is the most important hour after birth!


Oxytocin - The hormone of love


What is OXYTOCIN? This is an innate hormone that we like to call “THE HORMONE OF LOVE” and it has many functions.


  • First, Oxytocin stimulates powerful contractions, triggers nurturing feelings and behaviors, and it RELEASES MILK IN BREASTFEEDING. Synthetic oxytocin like Pitocin can can inhibit your natural Oxytocin levels. There are high levels of Oxytocin during labor. It increases during labor with baby pushing against your cervix, that’s why it is important to be in a position that lets gravity work.

  • The Second thing you should understand about Oxytocin is that increased levels of Oxytocin influences Breastfeeding success and promotes vasodilation in mothers chest and warming of the new born. There is also a surge in fetal Oxytocin that promotes a calm and alert state and this also helps breastfeeding.

  • Third, Oxytocin contributes to the Stabilization of the baby’s heart rate and breathing and reduces energy until breast milk comes in. The Increased Oxytocin and other innate hormones influence breastfeeding success for months. It also keeps the uterus contracted.

The very important first hour after birth


Now let's talk about how the first Hour with your baby establishes the foundation of your future together.


This first hour allows love, trust, and understanding to grow between you and your baby. Important contact during the first hour after the baby is born does the following:


  1. During this hour skin to skin promotes gentle, natural regulation of baby’s heart rate and body temperature.

  2. This hour helps establish regular breathing patterns.

  3. This important hour helps to sustain high, stable blood sugars.

  4. This time gives your baby exposure to natural bacteria which reduces risk of illness from germs in the environment.

This truly is the “The Golden Hour” after the birth of your child because it has this stabilizing effect built right into it.


Important tips for the first hour


Here are some really important tips and resources to remember during this time

  • Breastfeed your baby with the first hour.

  • Watch for early infant feeding cues.

  • Try and delay tests and nursing routines and procedures until after the first breastfeeding. This decreases baby’s stress so just slow down and savor the moment.

  • No one needs to show you how to bond, you need privacy, peace, patience and the confidence to do what your body heart and mind already know how to do!

  • The first hour should be a carefully protected routine. This is why it is very helpful to have someone with you that you trust who can ensure that all of these things happen after birth.

  • During this first hour frequency and duration of feedings STRONGLY affect your milk supply, the more your baby suckles and drains your breasts the more milk you produce. Conversely you make less milk if you delay or limit feedings, use pacifiers, offer supplement or schedule feedings every 3-4 hours. So feed your baby frequently in response to His or her feeding cues and let him feed until he or she shows cues of being full.

  • THE FIRST HOUR OF BABYS LIFE ON HIS MOTHERS CHEST SKIN TO SKIN WILL REDUCE STRESS FOR YOU BOTH AND HELP YOU BOTH TO RECOVER FROM YOUR BIRTH EXPERIENCE.

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